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Cleveland Municipal Court Celebrates 100 Years

Ed “Flash” Ferenc
Dec 13, 2011
Cleveland Municipal Court, the second-oldest municipal court in the country, turned 100 years old on January 2nd. It's using the occasion to look back at a century of progressive reforms, and ahead to building on that legacy.

Date:       January 2, 2012

Contact:  Ed “Flash” Ferenc / 216 664 6787
                  PIO, Cleveland Municipal Court

Cleveland Municipal Court Celebrates 100 Years

(Cleveland) – The Cleveland Municipal Court, at thirty minutes after nine this morning, officially turned one hundred years old.

The oldest court in Ohio and the second oldest municipal court in the country was established by an act of the Ohio General Assembly in 1911 and opened its doors on January 2, 1912 in the old courthouse located on the northwest corner of Public Square, which has since become a parking lot.

To commemorate the event, a number of past and current judges, along with several city, county and state leaders took part in a ceremony marking the exact time the court began 100 years ago.

“History shows us The Cleveland Municipal Court has always found new and different ways to serve the people in the community,” said the Honorable Ronald B. Adrine, the Administrative and Presiding Judge, who’s been with the court for the past 30 years.

For example, The Cleveland Municipal Court was the first to introduce the service of summons by mail, a practice later adopted by courts statewide.  In 1923, The Honorable Mary B. Grossman became the first woman in the country to be elected to a municipal court bench.  In 1942, Judge Perry B. Jackson became the first black judge in Ohio when he was appointed to the Cleveland Municipal Court.  And with her appointment to the court in 1969, Judge Lillian W. Burke became the first black woman judge in the State of Ohio.

Under Judge Adrine’s leadership, the Cleveland Municipal Court has branded itself as a problem solving court.  Over the past decade, the court has developed a dozen different programs designed to break the cycle of repeat offenders.

“As we begin our next century, we need to build on that.  Many of the people that come before us are not criminals.  They just need purpose and direction and when they get that, the community is much better off,” said Judge Adrine.

In his observation for the Court’s 50th birthday celebration in 1962, Cleveland Press reporter Fred McGunagle wrote:  “It is the court closest to the people, the most human court and its strengths and weaknesses over the years have been human strengths and weaknesses.”

The court is planning a number of events throughout the year to draw attention to its rich history.

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